Jeff Haden wrote a great article recently in INC Magazine, called “6 Habits of Remarkably Likable People.” As I’m currently reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and have been putting a lot into the ”likability” of a person. Controversial thought suggest that, especially for women, the more successful we become, the less we are liked. Below I’ve included Jeff’s thoughts on the six habits of remarkably likable people:
1) They lose the power pose.
Our parents taught us to stand tall, square our shoulders, stride purposefully forward, drop our voice a couple of registers, and shake hands with a firm grip. White that is a great to display of nonverbal self-confidence, it can also seem like you are trying to establish your importance. That makes the “meeting” seem like it’s more about you than it is the other person. Take a look at how Nelson Mandela greets Bill Clinton: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzmkt7MtL64
So, the next time you meet someone, relax, step forward, tilt your head towards them slightly, smile, and show that you’re the one who is honored by the introduction. We all like people who like us. If I show you I’m genuinely happy to meet you, you’ll instantly start to like me.
2) They embrace the power of touch.
Nonsexual touch can be very powerful. Touch can influence behavior, increase the chances of compliance, make the person doing the touching seem more attractive and friendly. Go easy, of course: Pat the other person lightly on the upper arm or shoulder. Make it casual and non-threatening. Try this: The next time you walk up behind a person you know, touch them lightly on the shoulder as you go by. I guarantee you’ll feel like a more genuine greeting was exchanged. Touch breaks down natural barriers and decreases the real and perceived distance between you and the other person—a key component in liking and in being liked.
3) They whip out their social jiu-jitsu.
You meet someone. You talk for 15 minutes. You walk away thinking, “Wow, we just had a great conversation. She is awesome.” Then, when you think about it later, you realize you didn’t learn a thing about the other person. Remarkably likeable people are masters at Social Jiu-Jitsu, the ancient art of getting you to talk about yourself without you ever knowing it happened. SJJ masters use their interest, their politeness, and their social graces to cast an immediate spell on you. It’s sounds easy, and it is. Just ask the right questions. Stay open-ended and allow room for description and introspection. Ask how, or why, or who. As soon as you learn a little about someone, ask how they did it. Or why they did it. Or what they liked about it, or what they learned from it, or what you should do if you’re in a similar situation.
3) They whip out something genuine.
Everyone is better than you at something. Let them be better than you. Don’t try to win the “getting to know someone” competition. Try to lose. Be complimentary. Be impressed. Admit a failing or a weakness. You don’t have to disclose your darkest secrets. If the other person says, “We just purchased a larger facility,” say, “That’s awesome. I have to admit I’m jealous. We’ve wanted to move for a couple of years but haven’t been able to put together the financing. How did you pull it off?” Don’t be afraid to show a little vulnerability. People may be (momentarily) impressed by the artificial, but people sincerely like the genuine.
4) They ask for nothing.
You know the moment: You’re having a great conversation, you’re finding things in common… and then bam! Someone plays the networking card. And everything about your interaction changes. Put away the hard-charging, goal-oriented, always-on kind of persona. If you have to ask for something, find a way to help the other person, then ask if you can. Remarkably likeable people focus on what they can do for you—not for themselves.
5) They “close” genuinely.
“Nice to meet you,” you say, nodding once as you part. That’s the standard move, one that is instantly forgettable. Instead go back to the beginning. Shake hands again. Use your free hand to gently touch the other person’s forearm or shoulder. Say, “I am really glad I met you.” Or say, “You know, I really enjoyed talking with you.” Smile: Not that insincere salesperson smile that goes with, “Have a nice day!” but a genuine, appreciative smile. Making a great first impression is important, but so is making a great last impression.
6) They accept it isn’t easy.
All this sounds simple, right? It is. But it’s not easy, especially if you’re shy. The standard, power pose, “Hello, how are you, good to meet you, good seeing you,” shuffle feels a lot safer. But it won’t make people like you. So accept that it’s hard. Accept that being a little more deferential, a little more genuine, a little more complimentary and a little more vulnerable means putting yourself out there. Accept that at first it will feel risky. But don’t worry: When you help people feel a little better about themselves—which is reason enough—they’ll like you for it.